Lesson 4 -- second quarter 2005
March 27, 2005
© Copyright 2005, Christian Light Publications
Probing Your Own Heart
What kind of deadness does your life exhibit?
What kind of life?
Building on Some Foundational Concepts
Jesus had to die before He could come to life again.
Sometimes the most obvious truths escape us. Other times we try to escape the most obvious truths. One such truth is this: Death precedes life. Before a kernel of corn can spring into fresh, vibrant, fruitful new life, it must fall into the ground and die. Before Jesus could triumph over death and rise into glorious restoration of divine life, He had to die.
He rose that we too might rise into new, abundant living.
Jesus rose to experience and manifest the wonder and glory of new life. In addition to that, He rose so that we might join Him in that experience and demonstration of abundant life. The same power that brought Him back from the dead abounds in grace to make possible our own victorious living despite the sin around us.
We must reject sin, refusing to live in it.
The new life we have in Jesus requires that we reject all sin. More than that, though, this new life motivates and empowers us to reject and refuse to live in sin!
We are to be instruments by which He accomplishes His purposes.
Since you have been made alive by Jesus, He wishes to use you and your physical members as tools of righteousness for righteousness. Do not deny Him the use of yourself. Rather, purposefully yield yourself to Him and your members as instruments in His hands.
Questions and Responses
Why were those first disciples so slow to understand and to remember?
Surely we can find the answer in looking at ourselves. Are we not just as slow? How often, having experienced defeat once again at the hand of the evil one, we suddenly remember some spiritual truth that could have led us to victory!
We, as they, fight an ever-present adversary: our flesh. Not only is it weak, it is corrupted. That slows down our spirit. However, just as sin reigns unto death, grace reigns unto increasing righteousness (Romans 5:21). So we have hope of doing better and better! He which began that good work in us will with patience and perseverance (and success!) continue that gradual but sure work in us (Philippians 1:6). "Now the God of peace...make you perfect" is addressed to you about you! (Be sure to read the rest of Hebrews 13:20 and 21.)
If we are dead to sin, how is it that we can still sin?
Romans 6:2 asks rhetorically, "How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?" The point of the question is to make more obvious that which is already obvious: If you are dead, you are not alive. Therefore, anyone who has died to sin cannot live in it.
That is one reality of Christian living. Because we are dead to sin we no longer invest our life in it.
However, our question calls attention to another reality of Christian living. Even though we have rejected a life of sin by dying to it, we still experience our lapses into sin. Such failures do not necessarily mean that we have died to Jesus. They do mean that our sinful flesh has succeeded in defeating our dead-to-sin spirit. The sooner we repent from such sin and rise to continue our walk in newness of life, the less likely it is that such acts of sin will lead us back into a life of sin.
How do we prevent sin from reigning in our bodies?
"Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?" (Romans 6:16).
"Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me" (Psalm 119:133).
"For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live" (Romans 8:13).
For further light, resources, and encouragement, study verses such as these: Psalm 19:13; Romans 13:14; Galatians 5:16; 2 Timothy 2:22; Titus 2:12; 1 John 2:15.
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